MOTORISTS endured hours of "appalling" traffic chaos due to five sets of roadworks in Colchester, with commuters blaming the repairs for doubling their journey time.

A combination of maintenance and repair works in Hythe Hill, East Street, Whitehall Road, and Mersea Road left traffic gridlocked on Tuesday morning.

In New Town, queues stretched from the bottom of the Brook Street all the way back to Wimpole Methodist Church in Wimpole Road as drivers came to a halt.

One driver said: "Traffic was appalling this morning in Brook Street  being prepared to add 20 minutes is sadly the new normal now outside of half-term or weekends.

"Getting up earlier is not a solution when all your neighbours think the same."
Ronda Winter, meanwhile, said "It's a bloody joke".

Wayne Davis was also left unhappy by the congestion-causing roadworks. 

He said: "Brilliantly planed by Colchester, add to that the current road works to build a new bus lane for the park and ride which hardly gets used."

Chris Ransom added: "It was absolutely ridiculous. Someone needs to be employed to get on top of these constant disruptions which are now beyond a joke."

Gazette: Severe - a traffic map from Essex Highways shows the extent of the problems in Brook Street and Hythe HillSevere - a traffic map from Essex Highways shows the extent of the problems in Brook Street and Hythe Hill (Image: Essex Highways)


The problem was caused by the overlap of five different sets of roadworks, with UK Power Networks digging up part of Whitehall Road last Wednesday to repair a cable which has caused customers power cuts.

Those repairs, though due to run until next Wednesday, may be finished a week ahead of schedule, a spokesman has said.

The power company has also been carrying out repairs to cables in Hythe Hill since last Tuesday  roadworks which UK Power Networks has described as "essential" and are scheduled to finish by Friday.

Essex Highways has also been carrying out a range of works, having started repairs to bollards in East Street on Monday, with works not expected to finish until next Monday.

Further roadworks are taking place in Whitehall Road from Tuesday to Thursday this week, with maintenance works in Mersea Road having gone on since January 8.

The result was lengthy delays across Colchester on Tuesday morning, with Essex Highways' live traffic map showing severe congestion in Hythe Hill and Brook Street.

Shortly before noon, First Essex also posted on X warning travellers services on six different routes were experiencing delays of up to 40 minutes because of temporary traffic lights in Mersea Road.


Gazette: Gridlocked - cars were stationary as traffic failed to let up on TuesdayGridlocked - cars were stationary as traffic failed to let up on Tuesday (Image: Daniel Rees, Newsquest)

A spokesman for Essex Highways said it had tried to minimise disruption, adding works had to be prioritised due to a limited budget.

He said: "We appreciate roadworks do cause disruption and we always do our best to minimise this wherever possible.

"With a limited budget, we must prioritise our works and we would not carry out works if they were unnecessary."

A spokesman from UK Power Networks added: "Our engineers work different shifts according to the works needed, and often concrete and tarmac has to be left to set," a spokesman added.